Purdue University Graduate School
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posted on 2023-06-18, 16:51 authored by Christopher Alfred HickeyChristopher Alfred Hickey

 The Bias-Variance Trade-off, where restricting the size of a hypothesis class can limit the generalization error of a model, is a canonical problem in Machine Learning, and a particular issue for high-variance models like Neural Networks that do not have enough parameters to enter the interpolating regime. Regularization techniques add bias to a model to lower testing error at the cost of increasing training error. This paper applies quantum circuits as activation functions in order to regularize a Feed-Forward Neural Network. The network using Quantum Activation Functions is compared against a network of the same dimensions except using Rectified Linear Unit (ReLU) activation functions, which can fit any arbitrary function. The Quantum Activation Function network is then shown to have comparable training performance to ReLU networks, both with and without regularization, for the tasks of binary classification, polynomial regression, and regression on a multicollinear dataset, which is a dataset whose design matrix is rank-deficient. The Quantum Activation Function network is shown to achieve regularization comparable to networks with L2-Regularization, the most commonly used method for neural network regularization today, with regularization parameters in the range of λ ∈ [.1, .5], while still allowing the model to maintain enough variance to achieve low training error. While there are limitations to the current physical implementation of quantum computers, there is potential for future architecture, or hardware-based, regularization methods that leverage the aspects of quantum circuits that provide lower generalization error. 


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Computer Science

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Wojciech Szpankowski

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

Andreas Jung

Additional Committee Member 2

Ananth Grama